The global machine that is online social media has swept the world into a frenzied current of perpetual communication, access to information, interactive marketing strategies and general puzzlement. Needless to say it has become so vast that all kinds of theories and predictions find themselves circulating the ethereal abyss of the World Wide Web. So in a bid to make some sense of all this social media hype, here are 5 myths that we thought worthy of being officially debunked.
Social Media is For Young People
Absolutely not true! Whilst teens may have had a head start, statistics show that the fastest growing demographic on social media is in fact the over-50 crowd. Their usage has actually risen by a whapping 60% with more than 50% having active accounts on Facebook. Take a look at our previous blog on why teens are leaving Facebook to see the irony in this fact.
To really put it into perspective though, it is estimated that around 74% of adults who go online will use social networking sites. So there you have it – the proof that social media is for everyone, and not just young whippersnappers.
Technology Creates Isolation
It is easy to assume that people walking around with their heads down looking at their phones, or sitting at computers not ‘talking’ to anyone are a result of technology isolating them from their environment. Whilst this may be true to an extent in a physical sense, what is actually happening is that the environment in which they are communicating has moved elsewhere: online.
To be blunt, the clue is in the title. ‘Social media’ really is social, just not in the way we have so far thought of it as being. What it has done is enabled networks to form without the limitations of time and space. People are able to find each other right across the globe, from every cultural background and time zone. If anything, our levels of social interaction have increased.
It has also provided free platforms to arrange and advertise events and meet-ups, in person, at the drop of a hat.
Social Media is for Tech Geeks
Au contraire – social media sites are designed with their users in mind, complete with step by step instructions, FAQs and help sections. For the most part they really are simple to use and get easier with practice. Even businesses using social media can monitor their ROI and audience outreach with the help of built in analytics tools.
What you use social media for is really up to you, and you can do as much or as little as you wish. Some people just want to keep in touch with old friends and relatives and have basic profiles with high levels of privacy. Others are using social media as platforms of marketing, promotion and intensive networking – finding and connecting with new people and contacts and posting their every thought, opinion and meal for all the world to see.
Social Media is Replacing Face-to-Face Interaction
Yes, there are concerns that our obsession with handheld devices is in need of a little revision. It is after all still early days and the novelty factor reigns. And there are forever new social media tools that emerge on a daily basis. Yet many people are already using their time online to strike up new relationships that are developed in person when the time is right. This is especially true of professional networking sites like LinkedIn, not to mention dating sites and any kind of social communities that are created online only to organise physical meetings.
Humans are naturally sociable creatures and will always need direct interaction, no matter how much time we spend communicating remotely. The key is to be careful not to neglect those around you, such as friends and family, whilst making the most of the possibilities social media has to offer.
You Have to Be on Every Social Network
It is easy to assume that the only way to get the most out of social media is to sign up to everything on offer. This couldn’t be further from the truth, quite the contrary in fact. The sheer volume of social media platforms to choose from means that there is something for everyone, with each one offering a slightly different online experience.
For example, Twitter is known for its character limit and 24/7 updates on just about anything. It is ideal for short bursts of communication to a wide audience, or simply using your account to see what others are saying about things that take your interest.
Facebook is the veteran that has become more of a household name. However, many people have found themselves wanting to spring clean their ‘Friends’ and strip it back to its roots of keeping in touch with people you know and like.
LinkedIn is designed for professional networking and does its job well. So long as members have links to other sites, particularly company websites or personal blogs and portfolios, other social media accounts are not really necessary.
Work out what you want from your social media experience and go with what suits you and your cause best.